In December 2006 I did a 10 day coach tour around the South Island of New Zealand. On the way to Queenstown we stopped off at Kawarau Bridge, home of Hackett's original 43m bungy. I'd decided to do the jump in the morning and signed up on the list, but felt more and more nervous as we approached the site. Rightly so, as it goes a little something like this:
On arrival, you're asked to sign a disclaimer, you get weighed and are pointed in the direction of the bridge. Your knees shake as you approach the ledge,and although the instructors try to be reassuring your heart is in your mouth as they strap your ankles together and attach them to the bungy cord.
Finally it's "your time to shine". You're asked to take "little baby penguin steps" to the edge of the ledge. Then told to look at the camera and wave. You hear all the gang from the coach cheer. Then suddenly, "right then Jen, 1... 2... 3... BUNGY!".
You're expecting a bit more instruction about technique. A bit more warning. You stand, frozen. "Go on girl, push forward withyour legs and jump."
Another countdown. You can't chicken out again, everyone is watching. So,"1... 2... 3... BUNGY!".
And off you go.
The initial fall is incredible. A real rush, like the sensation in your stomach when you go over the top in a rollercoaster. Except you're not in a rollercoaster. You feel like you're free falling, with the river below rushing towards your face, you're about to hit it then... boing! And a very gentle sensation pulls you up, slowly, back towards where you cam from.
The successive falls and rises are much more gentle and not so thrilling. Eventually you come to a stop, and two men in a little inflatable dinghy come and gather you up, giggling hysterically and shaking from the adrenaline.
You make your way up to the balcony where your friends are waiting for you with a beer. You've earned it!